The Ins and Outs of Employment Discrimination

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If someone you either employ or who you decide not to hire believes that you’re discriminating against them based on race, gender, religion, or some other characteristic, you will find yourself in some serious legal trouble.

In the state of California, you’re not allowed to hold these characteristics against any of your current or prospective employees:

  • Advancing age
  • Birth country
  • Disability
  • Sex
  • Race
  • Genetic traits
  • Religion
  • Ancestry
  • Medical conditions
  • If they’ve been a victim of a crime such as domestic abuse, stalking, assault
  • Political affiliations
  • Sexual orientation
  • Veteran status
  • AIDS/HIV
  • Marital status

It’s important to understand that it’s not unusual for a city like San Francisco, where you can’t use a person’s height or weight against them when they’re employed by, to have additional rules about employee discrimination.

If an employee feels that they’ve been the victim of employee discrimination, they file a report with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) who than launches an investigation. It’s important that you work closely with EEOC and provide honest answers to their questions and that you comply with investigation. If you become difficult, or you act like you’re trying to hide something, the investigating team will start to assume that you’re guilty of discrimination.

While an accusation of employment discrimination can be embarrassing to an employer, having the EEOC investigation reveal proof of the discrimination is even worse. Not only does this make it considerably harder for the employer to hirer employees and get good PR for their company, it also means that they’ll be required to pay fees to the employee. Additional expenses include legal fees, back wages, payment for lost promotions, court costs, etc. Many employers find that the employee also file charges against them in civil court. The EEOC can also force the employer to take corrective measures.

No two employment discrimination cases are the same. So the type of investigation as well as the punishment the employer receives vary from one case to the next.